Archive for the ‘ Comment ’ Category

A Comic Death or Three: Ramblings

warning: contains spoilers to Justice League: Cry for Justice #6 – #7

Over the years we’ve got used to knowing that, if a DC or Marvel character that wore tights died, there is always a high probability of that character returning at some point down the line. Whether it be months or years. The thing is if a non-powered character dies, that’s them gone. I think thats why there has been such a strong reaction in some parts to the death of Lian Harper, the child of Roy (Arsenal) Harper and Jade (Cheshire) Nguyen.
Now, I don’t know if it is now because I am a father myself, but I was quite shocked when I read of Lian’s death. I’ll be honest now, as I don’t know the context it happened in as I’ve not read the Cry for Justice Issue. In fact, I’ve only really read Arsenal in Devin Grayson‘s (Titans, Arsenal mini-series) & Jay Faerber‘s (Titans) run across the turn of the century, but what I have read of Roy Harper, his paternal nature was a resonant part of his character. Lian’s death will now completely redefine him, and not only in the short term. I’m sure, whether Lian’s death was conceived by the story writer, James Robinson, or was diktat of the editorial hierarchy, that this move has the potential to go badly, badly wrong. Is it possible for a character to go forward without constant reference to his child’s death? Will a writer, somewhere down the line have to ‘forget’ this has happened to try and revive the characters emotion? are things being lined up for Superboy Prime to start punching again? I’ll be keeping on eye on things to see how things go.

Somewhere that a non-central characters death story was handled well was back in a New Warriors story by Fabian Nicieza. Elvin (Rage) Halliday, began is hero-ing at age 13, toxic waste giving him strength, invulnerability and a trip way past puberty into the frame of a 30 year old. At that age you’re not going to handle the death of your “Granny Staples” well. It was in New Warriors Vol 1 #37 (which has one of my favorite covers of all time) that Rage’s name was finally matched by his character and it really helped define the character for the future. Why is this different to Arsenal you might ask?  Well the main difference is the amount of history behind the character. Rage only had been made his debut, two years prior in Avengers Vol 1 #326. Roy Has well over half a century of stories to his name. The main similarity, though, both Lian and Granny Staples will probably not be seen alive in comics again.

I mention previously that both DC’s and Marvel’s costumed characters are know to come back to life. Well we’re know only two months away from the resurrection Paul Johnstone to retake his mantle of Shadowhawk.  The creator owned characters who have been published with the ‘i’ adorning the cover seldom come back, but this time its happening. I originally had reservations, BIG reservations. Whereas Marvel had the Legacy Virus, Jim Valentino didn’t beat around the bush with Shadowhawk, Paul Johnstone had been injected with the HIV virus by one of his enemies, a huge story line centered on Shadowhawk’s desperation with finding the virus, and his despite adventures across time, and with characters steeped in uber-advanced technology, no cure could be found. I posed the point at the Image Message boards and Jim Valentino responded:

 “I think we came up with a solution that will not only surprise, but satisfy. It worked for ME and I’m not big on resurrecting the dead (and, no, he’s NOT a zombie…or a messiah!) Actually, it was [new series writer] Dan Wickline that came up with the solution and it won him the writing gig!”

Now color me excited for the return of this character, a character that dishes out true vengeance by giving villains a true, irreversible life sentence in a battered body.

And thus ends a page worth of ramblings. My worries for the non-reversable death of Lian Harper, my love for the story around the non-reversable death of Granny Staples, and my excitement for the the back breaking return of the best Shadowhawk of all Paul Johnstone.

Roy Harper’s story continues in DC comics’ The Rise of Arsenal on March 24th, Rage can currently be seen in Avengers: the Initiative, and Shadowhawk makes his return in a new Issue #1 on May 5th 2010.


My Change in Comic Buying

Firstly, I must apologise for the lack of updates, My Wife and I have our second child due in the next month, and sorting things out has gotten rather hectic.

Also this week, my comic reading life has undergone a radical change, mainly due to this Lying in the Gutters post. After a previous December ’08 increase in Diamond UK’s wholesale prices, they had announced a further rise. I spoke to my high street comic shop, and double checked what their new prices would be. From April I would have been charged £2.55 for a $2.99 comic or £3.45 for a $3.99 comic.
After the December price rise I had already reduced my standing order comics. I had to get rid of DnA’s fantastic Marvel Cosmic books, they had one no wrong and were consistently excellent, but the onslaught of the $3.99 tastic War of Kings forced me out. Other books I was on the fence with had already gone, I was essentially already down to only the books i was consistently finding fantastic.
I had one choice, mail order. The exchange rate and postage prices killed the option of services like DCBS, and eventually a Google search found 86th Floor, who have answering my questions and given superior service already.
From now on, the majority of my comics will hit the Door Mat once a month. I’ll still traipse to the LCS to pick up books to review, but reviews might be less current, but no less valid.
Thankfully, I, and especially my Wife are looking forward to the extra money that is well needed in this current climate.

Pick of the New York Comic-Con Panels

The first BIG convention of 2009 is almost upon us, as a keen spectator who’ll be having to keep an eye on the major comic website, i’ll tell you which Panels I’m looking forward to the reports of:-
Friday 6th – 2:15 pm to 3:15 pm
Boom! Studios
New Projects and yet another Mark Waid Announcement
Friday 6th – 5:45 pm to 6:45 pm
Vertigo: Tales from the Edge
More Vertigo creators than you can shake a stick at, and a look forward into the next year.
Friday 6th – 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Image Comics: Breaking into Comics
Secrets on Haunt by McFarlane and Kirkman and news on Image United
Saturday 7th – 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm
Marvel: Cup o’ Joe
Always one to look out for surprise announcements.
Saturday 7th – 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm
Wildstorm: After World’s End
What’s up next inside and outside of the Wildstorm Universe
Saturday 7th – 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
DC Universe
What repercussions does the DC Universe face after Final Crisis
Sunday 8th – 11:00 am – 12:00 pm
Aspen Comics
Previews of new Aspen comics. (it’s nice to see them forge ahead after the tragedy of last year)
Sunday 8th – 11:15 am – 12:15 pm
A panel for arguably the funniest drama on TV

Tracking Your Comic Collection

Have you got too many long boxes filled with so many comics, that you’ve lost track of what’s here and what’s there?

here’s a list of resources / Program’s that just might help:-

Comicbase. – Comicbase is the premium downloadable database programme for comics. If you’ve got less than 500 comics then it’s definitely worth giving Comicbase Free a try, but there are a variety of other options available including Comicbase Express, Professional Edition, Archive Edition and a Blu-Ray Edition.

Comic Book DB – A free community style resource for updating details on old and new comics, and tracking your collection.  

Comic Book Realm – Another free site in a similar vein to Comic Book DB, with a burgeoning community a nice easy to use interface.

Comic Collector – Collectorz’ comic collector is an affordable option for downloadable database, which links to their Comic Collector Database of over 160,000 titles.

Comic Collector Live – Comic Collector live has a downladable database linked to their online comic marketplace. The software has an annual fee of $29.95.

Comics Price Guide – An Annual fee of $44.95 will let you track more than 50 comics (monthly options are available) online, and like ComicbookDB and Comicbookream, relies on community activity.

Personallly, I found Comic Book Realm was the best option for me, but they’re all worth a look at to see what’s right for you.

If there are any other I’ve missed, let me know in the comments section.

Can Comics in the UK Survive 2 Price Rises?

According to Rich Johnston at CBR’s Lying in the Gutters, when UK readers go in to the comic shop they may find they’ll have to pay extra for their comics. Not due to a price rise by the publishers (which is slowly happening as seen in recent Avengers and Hulk solicitations by Marvel), but due to Diamond UK adjusting their Prices to compensate for the recent crash in the value of the pound.

In July 2008 £1 would buy you $2.00, Five months later £1.00 now buys you $1.48. A huge 25% drop in just 150 days.

Obviously Diamond UK could not sustain such a change in the prices without passing the extra costs on to their retail customer.

In my comic shop in Southampton, I’ve been used to paying £2.15 for a $2.99 comic. £2.45 for a $3.50 comic and £2.85 for a $3.99 comic. I’m guessing that from tomorrow it’s going to be around £2.50, £2.80, and £3.25.

Now think of the British readers who have been reading New Avengers; they’ve been used to paying £2.15 for the comic. With the exchange rate change and Marvel’s price increase (from $2.99 to $3.99), they’ll now be be paying $3.25. Thats an incredible 50% increase.

ICV2 publish estimated figures for comic sales every month. These do not include sales in the UK, but it’s been said before around the net that Diamond UK orders add an extra 10-15% on top of the ICV2 estimated numbers. I can only see these numbers deplete considerably over the next few years if the Pound does not recover.

For the first time since I’ve been reading comics, I genuinely fear for the sustainability of the industry in this UK, and can only plead with the Publishers and “Power’s that Be” at the comics publishers to remember that there are 99 other price points between $2.99 and $3.99. PLEASE find a price point that benefits BOTH sides of the Atlantic.

The Beginning

So, here’s yet another review blog to litter the Internet.

I’ll be honest and say, i’m not trying to come at this with a niche, I’ll just try and write honest reviews of comic books that are out there.